tv The News Hour With Jim Lehrer PBS October 16, 2009 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT
>> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. on the newshour this friday, the lead story-- fraud in the afghan elections may force a new round of voting. judy woodruff has our coverage. then, after the other news of the day, margaret warner talks to a former cia officer who chaired an afghanistan policy review for the obama administration; jeffrey brown looks at big losses and big profits at big banks; mark shields and michael gerson analyze the news of the week; ray suarez gets an update on the power struggle in honduras; and tom bearden tells the story of a colorado army base hit hard by war casualties. >> one of the things that comes with six years in iraq and eight years in afghanistan is we've all lost somebody. everyone has lost a friend. major funding for the newshour with jim lehrer is provided by:
chevron this is the power of human energy. >> and by wells fargo advisors. together, we'll go far. the william and flora hewlett foundation, working to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> lehrer: the likelihood of a runoff in afghanistan's disputed presidential election came closer today. "the washington post" reported an investigation by the u.n.- backed electoral complaints
commission shows president karzai's share of the vote has fallen below 50%. that would trigger the runoff. an announcement from the commission was imminent. judy woodruff has our lead story report. >> woodruff: the "post" story came on a day of further violence in the country. four afghans, at least two of them civilians, were killed in ghazni province, after a joint international afghan force launched a raid of several homes where militants were suspected of hiding. >> the insurgents don't have any respect for the civilians in the area, because they regularly put them in harm. and in this case, unfortunately, there were deaths, but you have seen that again and again across the country. >> woodruff: meanwhile, the u.s. military announced the deaths of four american troops in a bombing yesterday, bringing the number of u.s. forces killed this month to 25. that violence comes against the backdrop of afghanistan's ongoing political instability.
today's "washington post" story cited anonymous official sources who claimed the country's electoral complaints commission had reached what they called a "stunning" conclusion. those sources said, with fraudulent ballots discounted, president hamid karzai's vote tally would fall from 55% to 47%, triggering a runoff against his closest competitor. that's former afghan foreign affairs minister, abdullah abdullah. >> my preference is going for a second round. we are ready, and i have not dismantled the infrastructure of our campaign, though the campaign will be different this time. >> woodruff: the timing of any runoff election is unclear-- the u.s. and its nato allies want voting to take place in early november to avoid the harsh afghan winter. but the afghan ambassador to the u.s. has said that may be impossible. secretary of state hillary
clinton told cnn a new election could be carried out soon, but >> it got close tos 50 plus 1 percent so i think one can conclude that the likelihood of him winning a second round is probably pretty high. >> woodruff: the final report from the electoral commission could come out as early as tomorrow. and for more on where things stand, we have one of the writers of that "washington post" story. karen deyoung is the senior diplomatic correspondent. she joins us now from the paper's newsroom. karen, thank you for talking with us. >> thank you, judy. >> woodruff: you cite sources with knowledge for what the electoral complaints commission as finding the results stunning. what exactly did they find? >> what they found was that from their sampling, and they didn't look at all the -- votes, they took what they considered a representative sample that president karzai who the
national electoral commission had found preliminarily received 54% of the vote actually had received only about 47%, somewhere in the high 40s. and that would trigger as you said in your piece, a runoff between him and his -- and his secretary -- the second in the race, abdullah, abdullah. >> woodruff: so as you say, this was just a sampling of ballot, so how concern can they be of these results. >> well, president karzai and the other actors in afghanistan all agreed to this complaints commission. they agreed to the way in which they were going to sample the votes. they did about 3300 polling stations. only those in which it was reported that 100 percent of eligible voters voted, or 95% of all of those who voted, voted for one candidate. and they took those and they extrapolated on a larger pallet. and most of the complaints, and most of what they found to be fraudulent votes that
they threw out had gone to president karzai. >> woodruff: but karen, why haven't they announced this yet? >> well, they are not scheduled to announce it until tomorrow. they were supposed to finalize their results today, communicate them to the government and they are supposed to officially declare them tomorrow. now president karzai's spokesman has already come out today and charged that the complaints commission was politically manipulated and therefore he will consider any result that they announce, a political result. and he will answer in kind. he has never said that he would accept or reject the results of the complaints commission. >> woodruff: so what's the expectation? is it expected that he's going to go along with the second round, with the runoff? >> i don't think anybody knows right now. there is a lot of discussion going on between the afghan electoral commission and the complaints panel that's going to issue its report tomorrow. the electoral commission
supposedly is questioning the way the complaints commission did their work. and saying that it's conclusions are not legitimate. you know, one could say that this will all end very badly. one could also say, and i think this is what the obama administration is hoping, that this is democracy at work. this is political haggling and that they hopefully will come out with a solution that will allow the process in afghanistan to move forward. >> now i did see one-story that quotes the afghan ambassador to the united states who is part of the karzai government as saying they do expect a runoff. >> he did say that. he said that on thursday in a speech. and that was viewed, again by the obama people, as somethingvk relatively optimistic because of his closeness to karzai, and led them to believe that karzai, whatever political maneuvering may be going on right now would in the end accept the runoff. >> karen, what about the timing of this? how quickly could they get this done? i also saw it reported that
ballots have already been printed up. >> right. they have been anticipating this for some time, the united nations has been running the elections along with the afghan government. ballots were printed with karzai's name and abdullah's name in london a couple of weeks ago. they've been shipped to kabul. the ink for the indelible ink on the fingers has been assembled. the polling packages are being put together. the afghan constitution requires that any runoff be held within two weeks of the certified results. the americans and theiro allies had agreed some time ago that it would have to be before the first week in november was over or it would be too far into the winter. >> woodruff: and again all this critically important to the obama administration as the presidents engaged in a strategic review, making a decision about whether to send and how many more troops to send.
>> well, i think that it could go either way for the obama administration. i think they are pretty much in agreement that the current circumstances with karzai at least preliminarily claiming victory that has been disputed, is not a good sign. that this would result in a government that is not considered legitimate, certainly by many afghans. and also by many of the participants in afghanistan. there are lot its of risks to having a runoff. there could be more fraud alleged. it could, the counting could drag on. any number of bad things could happen. but i think on balance at this point, the administration considers that the best pop option -- possible option. they do expect that karzai would win and then he would then take over in a much more legitimate position as a partner for their policy in afghanistan than he is now. >> woodruff: and we heard secretary of state clinton say that a moment ago, that they say the like leehood of karzai winning in a second round. >> i think that that is pretty sure. abdullah was given 28% in the preliminary results that
the electoral commission announced last month. >> woodruff: karen deyoung of the "washington post", thanks very much. >> you're welcome. >> lehrer: we'll have more on afghanistan later in the program. in other news today, a suicide bombing on a police station in pakistan killed at least 13 people. it was the latest in a string o attacks across the country targeting government sites. newshour correspondent kwame holman narrates our report. >> holman: the double suicide bombing hit the heavily protected police station in pakistan's main city in the northwest, peshawar. three suicide bombers-- one of them a woman-- launched the attack at the main gate. the blast destroyed part of the police station, and left a gaping hole in the mosque next to it. >> ( translated ): i was outside
of my office at the time, i heard only the sound of the blast. i knew straight away that a blast had taken place. i saw there was smoke and dust everywhere. after that, i don't know what happened. >> holman: today's attack was one in a series sweeping the country in the past 11 days, many believed to be the work of the taliban. they have included hits on security forces in lahore, army headquarters in rawalpindi, and the offices of the u.n. food agency in islamabad. in total, more than 150 people have been killed in the rising violence. the taliban have said it is designed to act as a warning against the pakistani army's expected ground offensive against militants in south waziristan, the taliban's stronghold near the border with afghanistan. that offensive, and the growing violence, drew pakistan's top political and military leaders to a meeting in islamabad today. in a statement after the
meeting, prime minister gilani's office vowed to "weed out" terrorist elements. >> lehrer: a suicide bombing also hit a mosque in iraq, northwest of baghdad. the bomber opened fire on sunni worshippers gathered for friday prayers in tal afar. he killed 15 people before detonating his explosives. 95 others were wounded in the attack. u.s. health officials warned the h1n1 "swine" flu virus is hitting harder and earlier than expected. the centers for disease control and prevention reported flu activity is now widespread in 41 states. in atlanta, the head of the c.d.c. said more children have died in the span of a few weeks than typically die in an entire flu season. >> there are now a total of 86 children under 18 who've died from the h1n1 influenza virus. about half of the deaths we've seen in children since september
1 have been occurring in teens between the ages of 12 and 17. these are very sobering statistics and, unfortunately, they are likely to increase. >> lehrer: federal health officials also warned of a delay in production of the swine flu vaccine. 40 million doses were expected to be ready by the end of october. but now, only as many as 30 million will be dispersed by then. the u.s. budget deficit for 2009 soared to a record high of $1.42 trillion. it's the highest since world war ii. government data released today attributed much of it to a drop in tax revenues and to a rise in government spending during the recession. under the obama administration war costs have been included in the budget. the bush administration excluded them from official deficit projections. a rally on wall street that started mid-week came to an end today. stocks fell on disappointing earning reports from bank of
america and general electric. the dow jones industrial average lost 67 points to close at 9,996. the nasdaq fell 16 points to close above 2,156. for the week, the dow gained more than 1%; the nasdaq rose eight tenths of a percent. authorities in colorado said today there was no evidence the big colorado balloon incident was a hoax. the silver helium balloon traveled 50 miles over two hours yesterday, and was believed to have a six-year-old boy on board. that prompted a massive rescue effort before he was found hiding in his family's garage. last night, the boy told cnn, "we did this for a show", but today, his father insisted his son was just confused by the question. still to come on the newshour tonight: the latest bank statements;
shields and gerson; a honduras update; and fort carson's fallen. that follows more on afghanistan, and we go to margaret warner for that. >> warner: when president obama unveiled his first strategy for afghanistan and pakistan last march, bruce riedel was there. he'd chaired the high level review that recommended a broad counter-insurgency campaign in the region against al qaeda. riedel's spent a lifetime studying that terrorist group and its roots, through three decades at the cia, with postings to top jobs at the pentagon and the national security council. last year, he released a book, "the search for al qaeda: its leadership, ideology and future." i spoke with him today at the brookings institution, where he's a senior fellow.
>> bruce riedel, thank you for being with us. >> pleasure. >> warner: you chaired the interagency committee that lead the first obama afghan pakistan strategy. appears now afghanistan may be going to a runoff election. do you think that is a good thing or does it further complicate things. >> i think on the whole it is a good thing. because the second round offers the opportunity to put legitimacy into the afghan political system. but it's got to be a second round that fixes the mistakes of the first round. no more ghost polling stations. no more fraud, no more corruption. and that means the u.n. and international community needs to be far more involved in this runoff election than it was in handling the first election. >> warner: now how does, meanwhile, the intensified violence in pakistan, how does that further complicate the picture for the president? >> well, the situation in pakistan today is extremely volatile, very combustible and very fluid. the good news is that the pakistani people seem to have finally recognized that the jihadists are a threat
to their freedoms. and the good news is also that the pakistani army is now taking on the jihadists in a real way. it's critical when the pakistanis finally doing these things that we send the signal of resolve and determination across the border. >> you mean in afghanistan? >> exactly. >> you were at the cia when the cia armed both the afghan mujahedin and foreign fighters to oust the soviets in the '80s. what did you learn in that period about afghanistan that is sort of special and particular about afghanistan that you think should guide the president's thinking, u.s. thinking now as it is reviewing the strategy. >> it's an important question. rarely in one lifetime do you get to fight the same war from two sides. that's what we've done. we fought an insurgency against the soviets in the 1980s brilliantly from a safe haven in pakistan. now we face an insurgency in
afghanistan fueled by a safe haven in pakistan. the one thing we know from these two war as long as the enemy has a safe haven in pakistan, you can to the defeat them. >> warner: but what about afghanistan itself? i mean there are historians and experts who say both by history and geography and culture they just regard any foreigner as an invader and they will always ultimately repel that invader. are we now in that situation ourselves? >> there is a lot of talk about graveyard of empires that afghanistan is inevitably a place where everyone fails. well, first of all it's bad history. alexander the great didn't fail in afghanistan. he created kandahar. the british didn't fail in afghanistan, they got a protectorate which is what they wanted. the soviets did fail because they faced a nationalist uprising of virtually every afghan. we don't face that. we face an uprising among a minority of pashtuns, this is not a hopeless cause yet.
>> warner: if the real enemy as the president says is al qaeda, as we all know most of the al qaeda leadership is now in pakistan. so why is it -- is it still important to have a huge effort in afghanistan? >> you know, i think we need to be careful here. we don't know where the most important al qaeda leadership is. anyone who tells you they know where al qaeda is should answer the question where is osama bin laden. so before we throw around things saying they are all in pakistan, let's bear in mind the limits of what we know. what we know is that they have traditionally operated in the borderlands between afghanistan and pakistan, going back and forth. afghanistan remains important to them. if for nothing else as a symbol. if they can defeat us in afghanistan, they will trumpet that this is the second superpower that they've defeated in the same place. it will have enormous resonance throughout the islamic world. >> warner: so are you convinced that if the u.s. had less of a presence in
afghanistan, and if the taliban were -- one that the taliban would be resurgent, let's just start with that. do you think so? >> i think the evidence is there. the taliban has staged one of the most remarkable military comebacks in modern history in the last seven years. why? because we mismanaged this war. we failed to produce enough resources into it. we didn't put enough troops, enough money into it. >> warner: and then what is the nature, do you think today, of the relationship actually between the taliban and al qaeda? >> i think the relationship between these two continues to be one of a strong bond. particularly among the top leaders. mullah omar and bin laden. bin laden continues to swear allegiance to mullah omar on a periodic basis. if you look at these two, what's remarkable about their relationship is not friction, but they in 13 years they've hung together. now they think they are on the verge of victory in afghanistan and pakistan. they're to the going to
break apart now. >> now in your book, you said that afghanistan in particular is very important to al quite and not just for the sort of public relations reason that you stated earlier. explain that. >> afghanistan is the place where bin laden, zawahiri and many of the other top people in al quite -- al qaeda had their formative experience. this is where they began to think about politics, about life. it was in the struggle against the soviet union. a conflict which they believe they were the critical decisive player in, and the agent of god. for them afghanistan is the bleeding place where they destroy their enemies. >> warner: meaning where they make us bleed. >> exactly. >> warner: now in the strategy review, and also in your book, you advocated and advocate massive investment in development, in economic security, in governance. there are again many who say
afghanistan's never had a strong central government. a strong functioning operation like that. and it's really a fool's errand for us to get mired in that. >> afghanistan shouldn't be measured against the standards of the united states or western europe it should be measured against the standards of the region it works in. we don't have to build a modern state in afghanistan to improve it. simply building roads so that farmers can get their crops to market will fundamentally change the dynamics of this country. >> and if you compare what we have been doing and what you think we should do in av ban stand with say what the soviets did, they did some infrastructure building. why did that go to awry? >> the soviets while they did make some investments in infrastructure, basically took an attitude of we're going to drive the population out of the country. they forced a third of afghans into refugee stratus in afghanistan and in pakistan and iran.
they carpet bombed cities like kandahar. to compare these two is to compare not apples and oranges, but steel and sand. this just not at all comparable in terms of the way we're operating versus the way the soviets were operating. >> warner: and do you think that the united states has any kind of moral obligation to stay in afghanistan until it's set right? >> well, we've certainly ver the last 30 years. we asked them to fight the soviet union. we've asked them since 2001 to help us fight al qaeda and the taliban. yes, i think we do have some moral obligation here. fzut above all, it's our national security interest to do this. the threat to the united states that was posed by al qaeda remains serious and dangerous. we just have seen this fall that al qaeda was trying to carry out another mass casualty attack in the
united states by recruiting an afghan-american to do some kind of damage. the point here is that al qaeda saw in him an opportunity to strike again inside the united states of america. >> warner: and you don't think that actually our being in afghanistan makes that kind of thing more likely? >> no, i don't. i think as long as al qaeda has its principal stronghold, safe haven along the border between afghanistan and pakistan, that poses the existential threat to the united states. >> warner: bruce riedel, thank you. >> thank you very much. >> lehrer: we will have further conversations about afghanistan and u.s. policy in the days ahead. next, what's behind some big profits-- and big losses-- for the banks on wall street. jeffrey brown has the story. >> brown: in recent days, major banks have reported their third- quarter earnings, and it's a mixed picture. several, including goldman sachs
and j.p. morgan chase, reported considerable profits, while others continue to be hurt by loan losses and other problems in the broader economy. notable among the latter group is bank of america, which is also plagued by the continuing fallout from its acquisition of merrill lynch late last year. joining us for an update is clayton rose, a senior lecturer at harvard business school. let's start with bank of america. in what ways is it feeling the economy's continuing problems? >> the primary problem that they have is that their assets, their loans are tied to the consumer. and as long as the consumer is both unemployed at a much higher rate than we would all like, and as long as they continue to not purchase things and to shed debt, then firms that have a close tie to their fortunes like bank of america are going to continue to suffer in terms of earnings.
>> and b of a is particularly vulnerableable in that area? >> they are. a substantial portion of their assets are related to loans both mortgages, home-equity loans and credit card loans. that are very tied to the consumer. >> reporter: now in the meantime the banks executives and now the lawyers are still under something of a cloud over the merrill acquisition. tell us what has happened just in the last couple of days. >> well, the fundamental issue there, invest ree -- jeffrey, or the issue at question here is should bank of america have disclosed in the fourth quarter of 2008 a year ago, that the losses that merrill was suffering during the fourth quarter were much higher than anticipated and disclose that to the shareholders and bank of america before the vote was taken to formalize the sale of merrill to bank of america. back of america chose not to disclose those losses before
the vote was taken. and that's the issue. whether they should have done that. and whether there was some either violation of law or disadvantaging the shareholders there. in the last few days, bank of america has reversed the position that they had had. and that is that they said that they were operating, their executive, under the guidance and advice of their lawyers. but that they were not willing to reveal what it is their lawyers had told them because of the attorney-client privilige. and for whatever particular reasons, bank of america has reversed that position and is now going to allow the authorities both in congress and i believe in the new york attorney general's office to review the advice that their attorneys had given them. >> all right. now if we broaden out the picture a bit, as i said, some banks, notably goldman sachs are making huge profits. now how does that jive with what you were just saying about the problems at b of a
with consumer loans, mortgage lending. explain the disconnect there? >> a good question. the wall street and the financial industry in general do not all operate in the same sector. bank of america as we've discussed is more highly focused on the consumer side of the business than their assets are much more sensitive to the fortunes of the consumer. other firms, goldman sachs is the example you've used, have different business models. and are tied either to trading their own capital and or are tied to the business sector. in the case of a company like goldman sachs, much of the earnings that they have generated in this quarter in particular relates to two things. one is trading for their own account, using their own capital as well as trading for their clients, institutional investors among others, and that is not tied to the consumer at all. in fact that's tied to the
volatility, the movement in the bond market and in the stock market, and an upward trend in those markets also tends to fuel earnings historically. and as well, these firms have had assets on their balance sheets that a year ago when we were in the depths of the crisis they were writing down very aggressively as the crisis seems to have subsided here. and those asset values have been buoyed, they've been riding them up a bit so they also get a tailwind in recovering some of the value of the assets that were on their balance sheet. so while they're all part of the same financial sector they are really operating in different parts of the business. >> an let me just ask you in our last minute here, do, is that a temporary phenomenon or do you see a kind of long-term situation of more haves, have nots, some firms doing well, other perhaps not. >> i certainly think there will be haves and have nots which is part of a market system generally but we are in a very unique period.
i think that those firms that have their fortunes tied to the consumer like bank of america are going to have to wait for the economy to really stabilize and start growing again, in particular to begin to see unemployment subside and fall. and that may not happen until some argue the first quarter or well into the second quarter of next year. other firms like goldman, jpmorgan and those that have a different mix of businesses, i think will likely do better. in addition i think that those firms that are, at the moment, the extraordinary have received extraordinary government assistance like citi and bank of america are going to be held back in their ability to compete effectively against those firms that are not under government assistance at the moment. >> all right, clayton rose of harvard business school, thanks very much. >> thank you, jeffrey.
and to the analysis of shields and gerson. that's syndicated columnist mark shields and "washington post" columnist michael gerson. david brooks is off tonight. mark, is it on the same subject, is it fair to say that a lot of average americans are really up set about the huge profits and the huge compensation that is already begun to return to wall street, do they deserve to be up set? >> they deserve to be up set. wall street has earned the rage and the fury of ode americans. two firms, citigroup and merrill lynch, last year lost $54 billion. american taxpayers, firefighters and nurses, and teachers and hairdressers came up with the money. they knew that it was important to keep them in business. came up with $55 billion. as they are losing $54 billion and borrowing $55
billion from the american people to keep their doors open, they award $9 billion in bonuses to their own people is that a sense of outrage. is it justified? at that same time, jim, as 14,000 americans every day are losing their health insurance. when five and a half million americans are out of work for more than six months and we can't even get the congress, the senate in this case, to extend unemployment benefits to these folks? with 424 americans every hour having their homes repossessed. yeah, there is a sense of rage and it is totally justified. >> lehrer: totally justified, michael? >> well, it's certainly there. you know, it's hard to argue with that sort of attitude. and many americans feel it. left, right and center this is not a particularly idea lling issue, that people feel there is a different set of rules for the wealthy and for the middle class. i think that's true. the fact is that a lot of executive compensation on wall street and other places is done through bonuses and stock options.
it's not done with salaries. that's the way they compete for workers. and you know, keep people in jobs. that's the way wall street works. and you know, a lot of americans are angry but a significant number are happy when they see the market over 10,000, which is also helping some of these firms as well. and you know, i think if you look at the facts, the compensation strategies of banks in the research doesn't really correlate very well with the performance of the banks. it's not the key factor. greed is not the main factor here, but it is certainly a cause for a lot of resentment. >> lehrer: do you see that resentment -- resentment waning or is it going to condition to be there until -- continue to be there until this whole thing, i done mean the whole thing, but much of the economy recovers. as long as people are still hurting out there they are going to see these headline, reports and get up set. >> there is a diversion right now, or a division in
america between those benefitting from the fact that the economy at the highest levels is coming back to some extent. but unemployment is very high. business start-ups are very low. the real economy out there is lagging behind our, the economy at the heights and i think that is going to cause some tension. >> lehrer: you agree with that, too, do you you not, mark. in some stratas of the economy, nothing is changing. except it is either remaining flat or it's negative while at the top it's doing very well. >> it's socialism for the rich. i mean obviously the people having their houses repossessed are not too big to fail. the people losing their jobs. they know, 75 years ago, franklin roosevelt said the measure of our progress is not whether we add more to at bundance of those who have much but whether we provide enough for those who have too little. i mean i just think this thing has turned totally upside down and i think there is a political rage. i think mike sell right. that it's not left, right or center. i just think we came to the
rescue of these folks. yes, they put the economy at risk. and now they talk about the pay for performance. they get paid handsomely. they get paid handsomely when they weren't -- and they got paid handsomey with our money. equals acker. >> lehrer: all right, let's move on to afghanistan, michael. how do you read the potential or the probability at this point there is going to be a runoff election? >> i think it is pretty much inevitable if the electoral commission, the u.n. electoral commission comes in with a report that puts karzai under 50%. if he were to ignore that report this would move from being a controversy election to being a stolen election which wouldn't work for him and it wouldn't work for us. there is really very little option here. i talked with general petraeus a couple of weeks ago on this very topic. the electoral crisis in afghanistan, they consider one of their biggest problems.
and you look at the iraq example, it's interesting. because you know that was a case where a leader rose to the moment, prime minister maliki, everybody thought --. >> lehrer: they put him down at the beginning. >> the stooge of the iranian, the poor leader. but he then took on the shi'a melisha, became a national leader. we really need karzai to step into that role and to have strong central authority and to tame these corrupt war lords. and you know it is not going to work without it. i think the military knows that. they have been plan on it. it's part of the strategy. >> lehrer: do you agree, mark, that the, for the obama administration's review of the policy, a new election and a legitimate, at least a president who is seen as legitimate is essential to a new policy or a reappraisal of u.s. policy? >> essential, jim and i think anything that even leads a whiff or a scent of stolen election are, of
corrupt election. we're talking with about in the report that i saw, up to one-third of the electoral returns being in question in the karzai area, the overwhelming numbers returning. where in ghost precincts, and so forth. anything -- i think it moves the debate in the congress and in the country from not how --. >> lehrer: our country. >> our country, not from how we help this afghan struggling government become more credible, more honest, more responsive, more competent, but whether, in fact. i mean i think that if there is any lingering question about the corruption and i think it's going to be very difficult to stage another election. i think the insurgents will make it difficult to vote. i think people who took great risks the first time and found out that it was a fraudulent process, may not participate at the same level. i think it is a very, very
complicating development. >> do you agree with mr. riedel who told margaret that the international community, the united nations and the rest of the world have to step up to plate to make sure this runoff election is -- >> i agree with that. a legitimate partner is a key to any counterinsurgency approach that the military wants to take. but we have another factor that is coming in here. one of -- i think that the situation with the election has hurt support for the iraqi. we really have solidified a united front of our own military in favor of the mcchrystal strategy, the counterinsurgency strategy. petraeus, admiral mullen and increasingly it looks like robert gates, the secretary of defense, have rallied around this strategy. these are people at the very height of their military reputation because of what happened in the surge. if barack obama now were to disregard that advice t would be an extraordinary development. and the signs seem to be
that he is moving towards at least the modified mcchrystal approach. it's going to be a tough sell for him in his own party and the rest of the country which is deeply script call but that seems to be the direction. >> it might even be a book end to the bush administration, as i recall, when general eric shinseki said we need 300,000 troops in iraq, and general paul wolfowitz said no, no, we don't need that. it will pay for itself. when general anthony zinni said it will be the first western christian invade and occupying ard of pro israeli, army of a muslim country. when the former cencom commander, now those in uniform are to be paid total dense. then they were to be dismissed. i don't in any way -- >> the question is whether we look to general joe biden in the circumstance and there is very little reason to do that. >> we looked at general paul wolfowitz and general dick richard pearl and we know where that got us.
i will say thisdw -- the respect and dense that is paid. i have great -- i do not know general mcchrystal. i have heard nothing but good things about him from people that do know him. and i have no question about his ability or his commitment. and i don't know if secretary gates is going to come down. i think he will be enormously influential. but in the final analysis we do have a commander in chief. a country doesn't fight a war, a country fights a war. a country isn't willing to fight a war, you don't send an army. >> you would agree with mikele that if the president goes to a modified mcchrystal plan it will be very difficult for him because of the views within his own party, his own vice president, and go on down the list. >> within the country. >> and i think that, i think the election today makes it even more difficult. >> finally, in a couple minutes health-care reform, the senate finance committee vote, the role of olima snow,
is she essentially in charge now? >> well, i think that she is playing an important role here. from her perspective an appropriate one. it helps because the strategy of the administration is to get 60 votes. this helps with that margin when you have people like leiberman and lincoln and some others that may be questionable. it puts her in a position of extraordinary influence with some democrats, by the way resent. if she comes out and says i voted for this in committee, the baucus bill because it is a marvelous plan and then there are modifications made and says i can no longer support it. that is a big deal it is the one thing that can sink this plan in a lot of ways, so giving her a lot of power. she didn't bring a lot of republicans along with her, none, in fact. she didn't provide republicans a lot of reasons to support the plan. but i think it was a victory for the administration. >> victory for the administration. >> sure, victory for olympia snowe, too. 217 republicans in the congress. and they've obviously concluded as a party they, in spite of the admonitions
urging expectations of people like howard baker and bill frist and bob dole and tommy thompson, and mark mccullen, all of the former republicans, positions of leadership to do something now, to seize the moment. they decided not to. olympia snowe stepped forward. here's the key to understanding olympia snowe and the republicans. there are 18 states that the democrats have carried each in the last five presidential elections. among them they have 36 united states senators. those 18 states were up by 34 democrats. plus 36. the only exceptions that they have made. >> republicans would do well to understand if are you going to win elections in states that they are not going to carry outside the old selves and the border states they've got to start to reach out to people like olympia snowe. >> you're going to -- would you pass, on behalf of mark would you pass that on. >> okay. >> all right, we'll leave it there, thank you both.
>> lehrer: next, another tense day in honduras. negotiators representing the two men who both claim to be president met again. ray suarez got the latest from there a short time ago. >> and with that we go to special corcor marcelo ballve in the hondura capitol. marcelo talks between the de facto leader of hon dureas and the ousted president have been going on for more than a week now. any update on where things stand? >> well there have been lots of negotiations yesterday and already six hours today there has been a lot of progress, both sides have expressed optimism. but they are still stuck on the details of how he would be reinstated in power. >> this was the day that president salia had threatened that he would bring his people out on to the street even as he is
hunkered down in the brazilian embassy. any sign that people are his supporters, taking it to the streets in the capital. >> yes, every day in the capital here the supporters are out in the streets. organizing marches at night, holding eventss in neighborhoods that you have in the hills around the city. so they are ready to mobilize if he is isn't reinstated. they have also threatened to boycott the november 29th election and actively disrupt the elections if it comes to that. >> there have been repeated references to there being very close. one spokesman saying a deal with 95% completed. what is the remaining sticking point. >> there's basically three remaining sticking points. one is whether this agreement would have to go through the congress and the prepare court in order to be approved. silia side wants guarantees there wouldn't be any problems. another sticking point and i think the biggest sticking point is timing. they said they wouldn't accept his reinstatement after the election and we can tell from that that
really the question of how soon zilia would be reinstated is key because whoever is in there the longest before the election has more chance to excert -- exert pressure on the elections and exert more control over the elections. another question is just who would integrate this cabinet this unite cabinet that both two sides are working out in order to have him reinstated and the country brought together moving forward. >> suarez: how about side forces like the organization of american states or the united states itself, played much of a role in brokering these negotiation. >> the organization of american states has really taken the lead here. there's been an oas observer, he is a chilean. he has been here the whole time. and the oas has really been sort of a lone ranger overseeing these talks. there has been international pressure and encouragement for these talks to succeed. but it's clear that oas has taken the lead on this and has a lot to win or lose. >> well, the honduran national soccer team has qualified for the world cup
for the first time in almost 30 years. with all that is going on in the country, has it attracted a lot of attention? >> yes, it's attracted a lot of attention. in fact, yesterday the contingent of journalists around the talks decreased dramatically because they went out to the celebrations in the streets and chuferbs where a lot of hondurans went on pril grimages to thank their saints for the victory. so it definitely distracted attention from the talks and a lot of people said maybe now the country has brought together we can have a final push and more good news on the talks today. >> marcelo ballve, thanks. >> thank you, ray. >> lehrer: finally tonight, an army post in colorado copes with casualties-- first, from the iraq war, and now from afghanistan. newshour correspondent tom bearden reports. ♪
>> reporter: earlier this week, soldiers at fort carson, colorado, gathered for what has become an all-too-frequent ceremony-- remembering those who have been killed during combat operations in iraq and afghanistan. >> today, we honor six brave soldiers who were fighting in afghanistan. all of these soldiers joined the military after the attacks on 9/ll. they joined because they wanted to serve their country. >> reporter: the wars have inflicted a particularly heavy toll on units stationed at fort carson. since the fighting began in 2002, 279 soldiers from the mountain post have been killed. most have been in iraq. but more and more troops from here are being redirected to afghanistan, and the death toll from that conflict is beginning to mount. first lieutenant tyler parten, a west point graduate from greensboro, arkansas, was killed on september 10 when insurgents attacked his unit with grenades and small arms fire.
his mother said she knew from the beginning of his deployment that she might have to face this day. >> he told me about his assignment and what he was going to be doing. he was going to be in the front, he was a scout. and i remember saying, "son, you're a first lieutenant. you don't have to go... you don't have to go first." and he said "mom, they're not going to follow me if i don't go first." and i knew then there was a chance he wasn't going to come back, because tyler was one who would always step in front of anything and charge like a bull into anything he believed in. >> reporter: fort carson and the nearby civilian communities suffered an unusually large loss earlier this month when eight soldiers were killed in a single firefight at a remote outpost in the nuristan province. "colorado springs gazette" reporter tom roeder. >> that was a real body blow to this city.
you talked to people in the streets; everybody wanted to know how they could help these families. talking to anybody around town and you ran into this sense of loss. it was huge. i don't think people were prepared for this duration or the kind of sacrifices this town has had to give. you watch these families who are deploying a spouse for a third or fourth time, and it's really taking a punishing toll. >> reporter: but commanders at fort carson say the casualties haven't affected morale. major david meyer. >> one of the things that comes with six years in iraq and eight years in afghanistan is that we've all lost somebody. we've all lost a friend. so it doesn't make it easier. but it gives you focus. it reminds you that what we're doing everyday is not for play; it is deadly serious.
so, we mourn the loss of those soldiers and we grieve for their families. but in a lot of ways, it helps focus us on what we're doing, because we're reminded that the stakes are so high. >> reporter: and the stakes may be getting higher. just last week, the 1st brigade of the 4th infantry division here learned it will be sending 3,500 soldiers to afghanistan next summer. the mechanized brigade will have a brand-new mission-- one that could be more dangerous. >> for our upcoming mission in afghanistan, we're really going to leave all that behind. but the focus of our mission is going to be to assist the afghan forces, so we're really going to be dismounted. if they walk, we walk, which is a pretty big change for a brigade that is used to being mounted on multi-ton vehicles. >> reporter: as the soldiers begin training for their new assignment, their spouses are also being trained to help each other in times of need. >> when you're filling out your forms, i want you to think real
globally about what you're good at, what you can handle and not handle. >> reporter: jill nugin is the family advocacy coordinator at fort carson. she is in charge of organizing spouses who volunteer to assist families who lose a loved one. >> we train folks to be part of care teams, so when there's a crisis, they can go in and do all those things that you don't think about when you're dealing with grief. we do support for families. we provide childcare. we have folks on call if people need to talk about things. so we try to be as prepared as we can for when these kinds of things happen. >> reporter: lona parten said one of the things that has comforted her in her time of grief is rereading emails from her son, especially his encounters with afghan children. >> he said, "i don't want the children to be afraid of american soldiers." it was his mission to change that. he would take out a harmonica and play for the children.
a guy li that, you don't expect him to go down in battle. but he did. ♪ >> reporter: a memorial service for the eight soldiers killed in the afghan firefight is expected in a few weeks. >> lehrer: again, the major developments of the day: >> afghanistan's disputed presidential election came closer. the washington post reported president karzai's share in the vote has fallen under 50%, which would trigger a runoff. and u.s. health officials warn that the h1n1 swine flu virus is hitting harder and earlier than expected. on newshour.pbs.org, an online- only feature tonight-- a chat with author nick hornby about his new novel, "juliet, naked."
hornby is known for writing about pop music and culture. here's an excerpt of the conversation. >> i know i straddled two worlds. i know there is this lit regardee camp and popular camp and i think mi somewhere between the two. but it is not anything i can afford to think about. i can only write what i want to write. and i guess when i started out i was a little bit frustrated by the way both camps did divide. >> lehrer: the full conversation with hornby is on our "art beat" page. "washington week" can be seen later this evening on most pbs stations. we'll see you online, and again here monday evening. have a nice weekend. i'm jim lehrer. thank you and good night. major funding for the newshour with jim lehrer is provided by: >> what the world needs now is energy. the energy to get the economy humming again. the energy to tackle challenges like climate change.
what is that energy came from an energy company? everyday, chevron invests $62 million in people, in ideas-- seeking, teaching, building. fueling growth around the world to move us all ahead. this is the power of human energy. chevron. >> this is the engine that connects abundant grain from the american heartland to haran's best selling wheat, while keeping 60 billion pounds of carbon out of the atmosphere every year. bnsf, the engine that connects us. intel. >> and by wells fargo advisors. together, we'll go far. and the national science foundation. supporting education and research across all fields of science and engineering.